Visiting a chiropractor for neck pain
Neck pain, also called cervicalgia, is unfortunately a common problem. Two-thirds of the population will experience neck pain at some point in their lives. This risk of neck pain increases with age and reaches a peak during middle age. Research results in the UK show that 20% of men and 25% of women currently experience neck pain and that this is often associated with headaches. In another study from Norway, 34% of respondents indicated that they had suffered neck pain in the previous year. Neck pain is the second most common neuromuscular cause (on a global level) after back pain.
In Canada, 30% of people who visited a chiropractor indicated reduction of neck pain as a primary motivation. In addition, neck pain represents about 15% of hospital-based physiotherapy in the UK. The high prevalence of neck pain takes a heavy toll on the individual, their work and productivity – and society as a whole. Below we discuss the causes, symptoms and chiropractic treatments for neck pain.
Causes and symptoms of neck pain
Our neck (also called the cervical column) consists of seven small vertebrae starting at the base of the skull. These small vertebrae are responsible for supporting the surprisingly heavy skull (12lbs/5.4kg). The bones, muscles and ligaments in your neck provide an incredible range of movement. This flexibility makes the neck extremely susceptible to injury. Any abnormalities, injuries or inflammations can cause pain in the neck and head. Problems that cause neck pain are multifaceted and can be potentially very serious.
Damage is a common cause of neck and headaches. If you do not know what you are doing, you can go back to your job and see what you can do.
If you have a problem with your head, you will have to do something about it, but you will not be able to do anything about it.
Spinal stenosis results in narrowing of the nerve passages in the vertebrae, leading to bone spurs that restrict movement.
Degenerative disc disease causes reduced elasticity and height of the hernia discs that may lead to a hernia, stiffness or pain in the neck or legs.
A general cause of acute neck pain is a fracture or a cervical hernia disc. This specific type of neck pain is very precise and may require special herniated disc treatment.
Ageing increases the risk of all of the aforementioned reasons for neck pain.
Traditional neck pain treatment
Traditional doctors can prescribe drugs, such as muscle relaxants or tricyclic antidepressants, which are much stronger than regular remedies. Other interventions include
Corticosteroid injections that can be used near the nerve root, or injected into the small bone or joint facets of the cervical spine or muscles to relieve neck pain. Narcotic medication can also be injected.
Surgery may be recommended to relieve nerve root or spinal cord compression.
Although sometimes medically necessary, current evidence supports a medication-free approach to natural chiropractic care.